On 6 February 2017, Dylan Rigby and Craig Douglas were convicted of offering and advertising a form of illegal gambling that was "parasitic" upon the popular EA computer game, FIFA. Having entered guilty pleas to offences under the Gambling Act 2005, the defendants were ordered to pay a total of £265,000 in fines and costs.
Rigby and Douglas admitted being Directors of a company which operated and advertised FutGalaxy.com - an unlicensed gambling website. Whilst the site had no official association with the FIFA series of games or EA Sports, it allowed customers to buy a virtual currency called FUT coins, to use those coins to gamble, and then to convert them into FIFA coins. FIFA coins could in turn be sold on an unauthorised secondary market in which Rigby also had an interest. The website was widely advertised on social media, including through a YouTube channel operated by Douglas, known by his alias NepentheZ, which had over a million subscribers.
Following the convictions, Sarah Harrison, the CEO of the Gambling Commission, said: "This was one of the most serious cases that has been investigated and prosecuted by the Commission. Its gravity is reflected in the significant financial penalties imposed by the Judge. The defendants knew that the site was used by children and that their conduct was illegal but they turned a blind eye in order to achieve substantial profits. The effect on children of online gambling was rightly described by the Court as 'horrific' and 'serious'."
QEB Hollis Whiteman barrister Rachna Gokani acted as junior counsel for the prosecution (led by Philip Kolvin QC and instructed by the Gambling Commission)
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